From arctic tundras to the “Paris of the Middle East,” plan your spring break getaway around these lesser-known destinations. By taking the road less traveled, your tourism dollars have a greater impact. Here’s our tip sheet on the best places to travel in April.
Sitting halfway between Norway and the North Pole, the Svalbard islands are an arctic wilderness where polar bears outnumber people. With a terrain that is both rugged and delicate, the tiny country embraces adventure tourism while safeguarding its snow-covered environment.
The islands’ old mining towns, dog sled tours and snowmobile safaris are best enjoyed during the sunny months, making this one of the best places to travel in April. For modern comfort in historic surroundings, the Funken Lodge offers a unique Svalbard experience. You stay at the top of “the Hill,” and have great views of Longyearbyen, the Lars- and Longyear glaciers. The hotel was built in 1947 and was recently refurbished.
Too frequently overshadowed by Machu Picchu and Cusco, Iquitos is tucked away in the western side of the Amazon. A port city, it’s the gateway to the jungle lodges and tribal villages in the Northern Amazon. It’s also the largest city in the world that cannot be reached by road.
Somewhat chaotic and definitely confounding, Iquitos entreats a faster pace of life than the rest of the country. Check into the Treehouse Lodge and sleep in the Amazon’s jungle canopy. Visit the floating district of Belén where there is a massive open-air market and houses sit precariously on wooden stilts.
Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka
An island eternally on the brink of a tourism boom, Sri Lanka is more than just an exotic surf destination. While its sun-drenched southern beaches and hilly tea plantations are drawing more and more tourists every year, Arugam Bay on the east coast is where you can still have the beach to yourself.
From there, a quick drive to Kumana National Park promises a safari that rivals Tanzania, without the crowds of the more popular Yala National Park.
With a fast-paced energy and coastlines resembling Côte d’Azur, Anthony Bourdain declared Beirut as “a place of such unbelievable possibilities.” A world away from its war-torn reputation, the city is in an era of collective enlightenment.
In 2017, the city’s extreme trash epidemic catalyzed not only an environmental movement, but a newfound interest in personal wellness evident in the city’s surprising multitude of yoga studios and organic restaurants. The Mövenpick Hotel Beirut is Green Globe Certified and close to the center of all the action.
-Shannon Valdes Leiderman